I was sitting in a pub with a bunch of pastors in London. One of the guys told us that in commercial flying, the airlines have come up with a point system for pilots, so they don’t get burned out. He said, for instance, that flying into Heathrow, since it’s so complex, is 500 points. Flying in and out of Atlanta, since it’s the busiest, is 750 points. But flying in and out of smaller places, like Birmingham, AL or Birmingham, UK is only 200 points. After a pilot has logged so many points in a month or week, he has to take a break.I think it's a great idea. Every job has its stresses and blessings, of course, and the pastoral role is probably not exceptional. But the depleting effect of some ministry tasks--counseling, correction, criticism, conflict, etc.--and the frequency with which a pastor must handle those tasks does argue for such a system. But then...I'm thinking it would be too stressful to keep track of it all.
Because we are all pastors, we could apply that to ministry life. Instead of putting in a 50 hour week, as if ministry is logged in as hours done, maybe we should come up with a point system for pastors. So if you do a funeral for a friend, its 500 points. If its for a child, its, 1000 points. If you deal with a couple and one’s infidelity, it’s another 500 points. If you have a deacons meeting or elders meeting that week, that’s 2,000 points. Every week is a sermon. For some its only 100 points, for others its 500-1000 points. And then there’s the administrative junk and the phone calls…and emails and…
Makes sense doesn’t it? Pastoral life is more than sermon prep and making polite conversation with little old ladies. It’s tough. And maybe we need a point system that says, when you get to this amount of stuff, stop. No more pastoral work for the week.
Anyway, here’s the kicker. I checked with a commercial pilot friend of mine who flies all over the country (USA). I asked him about the point system. He said, “Not true.” They fly by hours. Oh well, it still makes sense doesn’t it?
But if we decide to put something in place for pastors—to keep us from getting pooped—we should also think of the good stuff as well. So when you see someone really get the gospel of grace—maybe a new convert or where they get graced again, maybe that’s minus 2,000 in the point system. Or when a healing occurs or a sermon really worked and a few people ‘got it’—minus 500 points. Or when the teens return from a mission’s trip and a few want to serve locally as well… Or a half day of prayer, alone with the Father, restores one’s soul. Subtract 1,000. There are some things that put the energy back aren’t there? Makes me want to be a pastor again just thinking about it…
Pastoral Point System
From the Pooped Pastors blog, Tom Wood writes: